Two hundred and sixty-five quarts of green beans. That is how much they canned out of their garden last year. They gave away every single can.
Twenty-one years they have been married. He is 71. Works like he is 30. As for her, four years his younger, works like a 25 year old mother from 1970. Hank Jr. would have called them dinosaurs. People like them are definitely on the brink of extinction in 21st century America.
They believe in working hard, loving each other, and doing everything in their power to bless others. Those people are a rarity these days. they probably grew up around a whole lot of people like that in Limestone County, Alabama. Today, even their generation has gotten away from its values.
The two of them have been through a lot together. Maybe that is the secret sauce. She has put a child in the grave. She has had eight back operations and a heart attack. And, in her own words, she “will work circles around today’s younguns.” And she’s right.
He lost his best friend also...his father. His father was crippled. When he was a boy, his father would take him out to the cotton fields to pick. He would watch in admiration as his crippled old man would out-pick every picker in Limestone County. The little boy would then carry the full sacks back to the truck. They were a team. And a dang good one.
His father also taught him how to repair small machines. For years he has fixed anything. It’s one of his gifts. And it’s how his father’s memory lives on in his heart.
These two are special. You can hear it in their voice. But sometimes in the 21st century, we don’t listen to well. No telling all the things we miss out on. I met them when they came to House of the Harvest to get food, undoubtedly to help feed their grandkids. Green beans only go so far.
They were different. Saturday morning they waited in line at House of the Harvest to get food. Friday evening they were at House of the Harvest cutting the grass. No one asked them to. They didn’t announce it. They weren’t looking for anything in return. They saw the grass needed to be cut...and they came and cut it.
When I asked them, “Why?” he said, “My Daddy taught me that the Good Lord puts us here to help people. So as long as He keeps me going...I am going to keep helping. Y’all help us and we want to help y’all. I don’t know any different. The scripture says our life is like a vapor. Here and gone. I am just trying to do my part while I am here..”
Good word sir. Good word. But not near as good as the word they preached when they cut that grass and canned those beans.